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Adaptation of ED design layout during the COVID-19 pandemic: a national cross-sectional survey
  1. Delphine Douillet1,2,
  2. Thomas Saloux1,
  3. Pauline Ravon1,
  4. François Morin1,
  5. Thomas Moumneh1,2,
  6. Bruno Carneiro1,
  7. Pierre Marie Roy1,2,
  8. Dominique Savary1,3
  1. 1 Emergency Department, University Hospital of Angers, 49100, Angers, France
  2. 2 Univ. Angers, INSERM, CNRS, MITOVASC, Equipe CARME, SFR ICAT, 49100 Angers, France
  3. 3 Univ. Rennes, Inserm, EHESP, IRSET (Institut de Recherche en Santé, Environnement et Travail) - UMR_S1085, 35000, Rennes, France
  1. Correspondence to Dr Delphine Douillet, Emergency Department, University Hospital of Angers, Angers 49100, France; delphinedouillet{at}


Background The aim was to describe the organisational changes in French EDs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic with regard to architectural constraints and compare with the recommendations of the various bodies concerning the structural adjustments to be made in this context.

Methods As part of this cross-sectional study, all heads of emergency services or their deputies were contacted to complete an electronic survey. This was a standardised online questionnaire consisting of four parts: characteristics of the responding centre, creation of the COVID-19 zone and activation of the hospital’s emergency operations plan, flow and circulation of patients and, finally, staff management. Each centre was classified according to its workload related to COVID-19 and its size (university hospital centre, high-capacity hospital centre and low-capacity hospital centre). The main endpoint was the frequency of implementation of international guidelines for ED organisation.

Results Between 11 May and 20 June 2020, 57 French EDs completed the online questionnaire and were included in the analysis. Twenty-eight EDs were able to separate patient flows into two zones: high and low viral density (n=28/57, 49.1%). Of the centres included, 52.6% set up a specific triage area for patients with suspected COVID-19 (n=30/57). Whereas, in 15 of the EDs (26.3%), the architecture made it impossible to increase the surface area of the ED.

Conclusion All EDs have adapted, but many of the changes recommended for the organisation of ED could not be implemented. ED architecture constrains adaptive capacities in the context of COVID-19.

  • emergency department
  • COVID-19
  • emergency care systems
  • emergency departments
  • emergency care systems
  • efficiency

Data availability statement

No data are available.

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  • Handling editor Loren De Freitas

  • Twitter @delphinedouill5, @Francois_Mo_49

  • Contributors DD, DS, TS and PR conceived the overarching study. TS and PR collected the participants. DD, DS, FM, TM, PMR and BC made substantial contributions to the protocol and this article. All authors take responsibility for this paper as a whole. All authors contributed critical analysis, interpretation and writing within all drafts and approved the final draft for submission.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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